Ford Is A Tiger

LSU's junior day is slated for tomorrow but the Tigers hit the ground and running today as Scout.com 5-star running back Michael Ford gave Les Miles his third commitment of the day.

When you are a top-recruited running back out of Leesville High School, is there any other place you would rather play college football than LSU?

Leesville junior Michael Ford answered that question in Baton Rouge Friday, while in town for LSU's annual Junior Day.

"I decided to commit to the LSU Tigers and get the recruiting process over with early for me," Ford, listed as a five-star recruit by Scout.com, said. "It's just a natural fit. I've wanted to go to LSU for a long time and now it's becoming a reality."

Ford gave the word to head coach Les Miles and his staff while visiting the campus with his parents on Friday, becoming the Tigers' third commitment for the 2009 recruiting class.

And since four other Wampus Cat running backs have worn purple and gold in the last 25 years, it really was a no-brainer.

"I know Leesville has sent a lot of players to LSU and I just want to continue that tradition," Ford said. "Guys like Kevin (Mawae) and Eddie Fuller have played there and then went on to do great things in the NFL and in life. I want to follow in their footsteps."

Now healthy after recovering from a broken collarbone during his junior season, Ford is preparing for a big senior year and wanted to focus on his exploits on the field instead of the normal hustle and bustle of modern day recruiting.

"Michael is a very focused young man and always attacks one thing at a time," Leesville head coach Terence Williams said. "He grew up loving LSU and when you are a running back in Leesville, you want to be that next Eddie Fuller or Vincent Fuller."

Ford becomes the first Wampus Cat since tight end Keith Zinger — who just won his second national championship with the Tigers — to sign with LSU. He joins Oscar Joiner (1983), Eddie Fuller (1986), Vincent Fuller (1988) and Cecil Collins (1996) in giving a pledge to the Tigers after carrying the football in Wampus Cat Stadium.

He also joins other former Leesville players such as Kevin Mawae and Raymond Smoot to choose the purple and gold over other schools. Ford also received offers from Alabama, Florida State and Ole Miss in recent weeks, and is being pursued by most national powers.

As a sophomore, Ford (5-10, 210, 4.5) rushed for 1,334 yards and 18 touchdowns in just six games as a starter, but was sidelined in 2007 when he broke his clavicle on the game's first play against Natchitoches-Central in week three of the season. He went on to carry the football 14 times for 100 yards before leaving at the end of the first quarter.

He returned for a first-round playoff loss to Vandebilt Catholic, extending his streak of 100-yard performances to eight. He finished his junior season with 483 yards on 70 carries and 3 TDs in a little over three games played.

"I was hurt last year and that made me focus even harder in the off-season," Ford said. "Now that recruiting is basically over for me, I can come out and prove myself on the field and help my team win."

And while he's helping the Wampus Cats win, he also wants to help LSU put together a top recruiting class.

"I like meeting other recruits and talking to those guys, like I did at the Army Combine in San Antonio. I want to get a bunch of guys to go to LSU with me. I wouldn't mind getting my teammate Travante Stallworth there too."

While he continues to prepare for the 2008 football season, Ford is about to embark on his second sport ... track and field. Having recorded the state's top time in the 100-meters as a sophomore, he makes his track debut in early March before setting up his schedule for summer camps.

Ford hopes to be at Bernie Moore Stadium for the state track meet in May, where he'll have a good view of Tiger Stadium — his home from 2009 and beyond.

Fore more on Ford's commitment to the LSU Tigers and Leesville High School athletics, visit leesvilledailyleader.com.

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